Competing for Top Talent

By Michelle Coviello @MichelleCoviell

Let’s be real. The hiring process is stressful for both sides. Candidates are putting their future on the line and hiring managers are investing considerable resources to find “THE ONE”. Recruiting and hiring in today’s market is not easy. “The Harvard Business Review points out that as much as 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions.” There are greater challenges in identifying talent than most anticipate when filling positions. Supply and demand has changed significantly. How can you compete with other employers for the top candidates?

Be prepared – Do you understand the market for the talent you need? Identify what skills or experience your candidate must have in order to be successful versus what experience would be nice to have. Create a solid interview process that will identify if they are qualified for the position. This may need to involve a technical or personality assessment. Make sure you know what the market salary for that talent so you can be competitive. If you don’t think you can find this talent locally, be open to relocating when necessary.

Know your sizzle – Keep in mind that candidates want to be sold. Why should someone come to work for your company and not your competition? Know the answer to this question and make sure that you and your interview team can articulate this to all who interview. If there is a clear growth plan for advancement within your company, make sure that this is discussed as well. You need to sell your candidates on the job just as much as they need to sell you on their skills and abilities. Make sure candidates can envision advancement, cool projects and any other realistic aspects of the job so expectations are met.

Know Your Brand – What’s your company brand? What else can you offer besides salary that will attract and retain your most desirable candidate? Make sure your company benefits are in line with the competition. If it is not, think about offering more money to compensate. If there is a bonus plan, make sure that this is clearly communicated. Think about offering company stock options, flexible work hours or work from home situations when you can. Other perks like gym memberships and employer provided snacks, coffee, and lunches go a long way in today’s workplace. Little things like these can sometimes make the difference between your offer and a comparable offer.

Make Hiring a Priority and Be Decisive – Make time in your schedule for resume review and interview and be prepared to make quick interview decisions. Qualified candidates lose interest in your job if your interview process takes too long. And once you have interviewed a candidate, don’t wait too long to decide if they are a potential hire or not. Time kills all deals and this hold true with hiring. Keep in mind that the best candidates are not on the market for too long so you need to be ready to hire then when they are ready to make a move.

Michelle Coviello, CPC

Michelle Coviello joined HireNetworks as a Director of Business Development in December 2002 and opened their Charlotte office in 2006. With over fifteen years’ experience in the executive search business, Michelle prides herself with a proven track record in developing new business and providing exceptional service to both her clients and candidates. Michelle has conducted extensive search work within the information technology industry with a focus on programming, operations, and administration as well as technology sales positions. Prior employers include DCRI, a national personnel and employment services company, and the Sapient Corporation, a Cambridge, MA based software consulting firm. She is also a founding member and currently serves as President of the Charlotte Regional Technology Executives Council (CRTEC). Michelle received a Bachelor’s of Art degree in Economics from Boston College and lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband and two children.

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